Tourtiere with a Twist
We have talked about simplifying our holiday entertaining menus in past posts but we also want to have our guests feel that they are the center of our "entertaining universe" with innovative ideas and presentations. You can have that WOW factor without a lot of work and fiddling with complicated recipes. One way is to present this twist on a Canadian classic. I first saw the variation of this Quebecois dish on an episode of French Food at Home with Laura Calder on the Food Network. I knew that this classic twist on tourtiere would be on my holiday menu right then and there...with my own little twists of course.
Tourtière is a traditional French-Canadian dish served by generations of French-Canadian families throughout Canada and the bordering areas of the United States. It is especially anticipated for Christmas Eve celebrations, but it's equally as tasty throughout the holidays or over the winter months. It also goes without saying, you don't need to be French or Canadian to have this dish become a holiday tradition.
In the Canadian province of Quebec, meat pie is called "tourtière". Originally it referred to a cooking utensil used to make a pie or "tourte." By 1611, the word tourtière had come to refer to the pastry containing meat or fish that was cooked in this medium-deep, round or rectangular dish. It is usually a double crusted meat pie usually made with ground pork, often with the addition of potatoes for thickening. This is where the twist comes in as you see in the photo!!!
Every family has their own "original" recipe, passed down through the generations. Like the recipe, there is no one correct filling, as the pie meat depends on what is regionally available. It is a delicious, fragrant and savoury addition to the holiday table!!! Of course you know I had to "twist" Laura's recipe to add my own flair. Mushrooms are unconventional, but tourtiere fans will be happy with the extra flavour. I also added a little thyme as well as the savoury since my own recipe for this classic dish calls for it. What I absolutely LOVE about this dish is that it can be completely made-ahead, baked and then can be served at room temperature. Doesn't this make this perfect for a stress-free holiday table with a little bit of WOW. I served it with my own butternut squash risotto twisted with the addition of a little saffron and a dollop of mascarpone cheese and a simple tossed salad with a light lemony dressing. For dessert...a Lemon Coeur de Creme with Fresh Raspberry Sauce...talk about WOW...and with little fuss. Enjoy your company!!!!
Update..I decided to save time and use store bought pastry which was not strong enough to hold the shape of the log. They split, but tasted wonderfully!!!!
**Tourtiere with a Twist**
based on a recipe by Laura Calder
Makes two 9-inch/23-cm pies or 2 tourtière “logs”
3 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cup cold butter, grated
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon ice-cold water, more as needed
1/2 cup/125 ml beef or chicken stock
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground veal, hare, or beef
1 large onion, minced
2 cups sliced mushroooms
2 clove garlic chopped
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL)salt
1/2 teaspoon(2 mL) pepper
1/2 teaspoon(2 mL) dried savoury
1/2 teaspoon(2 mL) dried thyme
Pinch ground cloves (optional)
4 to 6 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the grated butter. Pinch quickly with the fingers to create a coarse, crumbly mixture. Make a well in the centre. Put in the eggs and the water. Quickly mix into the flour, just until the mixture holds together. Do not over-mix. Divide into 4 balls and flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator half an hour before using.
Put 1/2 cup/125 ml beef or chicken stock in a sauté pan and quickly bring to a boil. Combine all the remaining ingredients, apart from the breadcrumbs, and stir into the water. Cover, and cook until the meat is done, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in the breadcrumbs, and continue cooking uncovered until the liquid has evaporated. Check the seasonings, and cool.
Heat the oven to 450°F/230°C. Roll a disk of pastry into a rectangle. Spoon a generous stripe of meat mixture down the middle of it. Fold the short ends, up in over the meat making sure to trim any excess pastry, otherwise it will be too thick.Then fold over the long ends so that they overlap to seal, again, trim any excess pastry so it will bake evenly. Turn the log onto a baking sheet, seam-side down. Make a few slits in the top to let steam escape. Brush the top with milk for a golden crust. Bake until the pastry is crisp and nicely coloured, about 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.